Just a pinch of ALATi
By Shaan Bajaj
My family would avoid eating salt once a month, on every full moon. I grew up trying to do the same until I decided it wasn’t for me. However, the experience did teach me to never underestimate the flavour salt holds; almost everything is bland without it. In an homage to salt, and its symbolism of friendship in many regions, Siam Kempinski Hotel Bangkok Mediterranean restaurant is called ALATi, the Greek word for salt. At their establishment, Executive Chef Carlo Valenziano uses his expertise to create a comprehensive menu that brings together the best dishes from Mediterranean countries, including Italy, Spain, Turkey, France, and more. He also offers a seasonal menu to highlight a particular region and to discover the stories behind them.
During our visit, we tried dishes from both ALATi’s à la carte menu and their seasonal menu. Available up until the 30th of November, their Stories of Morocco promotion whisks you away on a culinary journey through the region, and is inspired by Chef Carlo’s own travels. Despite its proximity to the ever-crowded Siam Paragon mall, ALATi offers a refuge from the hustle and bustle of the city, and holds the key to a memorable meal full of conversation and laughter, whether you plan on dining with your friends, family, or colleagues.
A talented harpist sits at the heart of the lobby at Siam Kempinski Bangkok Hotel, serenading every guest that steps in. As I walked past her, I noticed a quaint food cart in white, drawing me towards the restaurant, which is decorated in soothing hues of blue to mirror the pool beyond the massive windows that bring the outside in. The space has a range of different seating options, and even a private dining room available to accommodate every kind of gathering, while its main dining hall, though spacious, exudes a relaxing atmosphere that immediately puts you at ease, and helps you wind down.
FOOD AND DRINK
Once we took our seats overlooking the garden and pool, a selection of cold appetisers arrived. First, I tucked into their signature ALATi burrata & tomatoes (450 THB) by carefully slicing the burrata open so that its deliciously gooey interior can ooze out. A classic fresh and creamy salad that Chef Carlo has elevated with the addition of sundried tomatoes and tomato molasses. Their Rocket & berries (450 THB) salad, served with a berry dressing, was equally appetising. The nonvegetarians around me sampled their Salmon & green apple tartare (420 THB) and informed me that the salmon tasted refreshing with the dill-infused sour cream, while the green apple added a contrasting crunchy texture.
When visiting with a group of friends, order their Seafood platter (4500 THB) and their Mezze platter (590 THB). The first includes an array of fresh lobsters, oysters, prawns, king crabs, mussels and clams. The latter is a dip lovers’ paradise, including hummus, haydari, muhammara and marinated smoked eggplant served with Turkish olives. I thoroughly enjoyed trying them with warm pita bread, and the perfectly-spiced muhammara was a unanimous crowd favourite. For the seafood addicts, ALATi also hosts a Sunday Riviera Brunch with an unlimited selection of seafood on ice, priced at THB 3,200 per person, with an additional THB 1,400 per person for freeflow wines and cocktail packages, or THB 2,600 for free-flow Louis Roederer champagne packages.
Next, it was time to sample the hot appetisers, which included two dishes from their seasonal Stories of Morocco menu. The Shakshuka (490 THB) is a traditional North African and Middle Eastern dish, often eaten at breakfast. Chef Carlo has added a twist with the addition of merguez to the tangy and flavourful tomato-based stew. For a hearty meal, try their Harira soup (350 THB) made with chickpeas, lentils, tomato soup, coriander and lemon. Personally, it reminded me of the popular Indian dish, chole. The last appetiser we tried from their à la carte menu was my personal favourite and one I would visit again for, the Black truffle and cheese pide (650 THB). The earthy and tart truffle compote paired with a rich and cheesy mozzarella is a divine combination.
For our main course, we sampled four different dishes, one of which came from the Stories of Morocco menu, the Couscous royale (THB 850). It came in an intricate black-and-rust-orange dinner plate, and looked like a feast in itself as it included merguez, grilled chicken, and lamb stew. My colleagues informed me of how delicious it was, especially with the spicy bouillon. From the fish and meat section of the menu, my team members also sampled their Salmon trout (THB 850) and Duck leg confit (THB 690). I was told the salmon was incredibly flaky while the chardonnay sauce was a welcome addition to add richness to an already-decadent dish. The duck leg was meaty yet nutty, and an overall indulgent dish. Last but not least, the Lobster ravioli (850 THB) was savoury and buttery due to the lobster bisque.
We couldn’t leave without trying some of their exceptional variety of desserts. To start, I took a bite out of their signature ALATi knafeh (THB 390), a sugary, cheese-filled pastry paired with a velvety vanilla ice cream, which I could not stop eating. It is a sweet tooth’s dream dessert. To offset the sweetness, I also had their Tiramisu (320 THB), a perfectly prepared iteration of the classic dessert, that can turn any frown upside down.
While tucking into our indulgent spread of Mediterranean dishes, we sipped on two different but equally-invigorating mocktails. The BerriLicious (THB 250) lives up to its name with a mixture of berries, lime and ginger ale, while a sip of Italian soda (THB 250) might actually fool you into thinking that you are in a small Italian seaside town.
As a cup of tea or coffee is usually served after lunch, we had the opportunity to sample their Moroccan mint tea (THB 290) and Turkish coffee (THB 290). The mint tea leaves are left inside the teapot; to stir the leaves, tea is poured into glasses from high above. As a self-proclaimed coffee connoisseur, their Turkish coffee is not to be missed at all costs. Prepared in a cezve and served with a variety of small Turkish sweets, it was a perfect end to our meal.
The Orange with cinnamon (THB 320), which is a refreshing dessert from their Stories of Morocco menu. The strong and cooling flavour of mint ice cream cuts through the tanginess of marinated orange, strawberries, honey and cinnamon, and the combination truly transports you to a bright and sunny day.
*All dining prices are exclusive of 7% government tax and a 10% service charge
Ground Floor, Siam Kempinski Hotel Bangkok Rama 1 Road 991/9, 10330, Bangkok Thailand
Open on Mondays to Saturdays from 12pm to 10.30pm; on Sundays from 5.30pm to 10.30pm
Sunday brunch is from 12pm to 4pm
Tel: 02 162 9000